Biofouling management of international vessels

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[Image: Hamish Lass, BOP]

New Zealand requires all vessels entering our waters to have a clean hull to reduce the risk of entry of biofouling pests.

The term ‘biofouling’ refers to the accumulation of living micro-organisms, plants and animals on surfaces that are submerged in, or exposed to, the marine environment. Although most marine vessels use special antifouling coatings to reduce the rate at which biofouling accumulates on their hull, vessel biofouling is still recognised as the main pathway for the introduction of foreign marine species to New Zealand’s marine environment. To understand the magnitude of the risk, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) completed a risk analysis in 2011, which examined the types of biofouling species that are likely to be introduced on vessels and the impacts these species may have on our environmental, economic and societal values.

The best approach to managing this pathway is by preventing the entry of biofouling in the first instance. To achieve this, MPI has issued the Craft Risk Management Standard which applies to all international vessels entering New Zealand. This world first standard sets out the requirements that vessel owners must meet to enter New Zealand with a ‘clean hull’; one that is free of biofouling. Guidance on how to achieve a ‘clean hull’ can be found on MPI’s website.

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